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Picayune to host swim clinic for athletes

Now that Head Coach Rachael Rutherford knows who’s going to be on her swim team this upcoming season, she’s working with them to master the finer details of the sport.

This Sunday the Maroon Tide swim program will take part in a swim clinic from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

While there are nine new athletes on the 19 person squad, Rutherford said the clinic will be beneficial for veteran and inexperienced swimmers.

For the swimmers who just joined the team the focus of the clinic, which will be taught by Pearl River Central’s swim coach Blake Rutherford, will be learning how to position their body while swimming.

Athletes need to make themselves as streamlined as possible in competitive swimming in order to add more speed and cut down on their times. However, for swimmers who are used to just playing around in a pool and not competing against top tier athletes, they may not have that experience.

“A lot of kids are used to swimming freely so they wiggle around a lot, so they don’t know how to engage those muscles and stay in a streamlined position,” Rutherford said.

The veterans on the other hand will focus on flips and turns, as those are skill-based maneuvers that can give a swimmer the edge in a close race. Rutherford will also have her athletes work on all four strokes in order to diversify the events in which her swimmers can compete.

The hope is that once the athletes are more comfortable with the different strokes they’ll be more willing to take part in those events.

“They don’t mentally want to swim it so I feel like if (PRC Head Coach Blake Rutherford) gives them some tips it’ll be easier to swim those strokes because they’ll want to,” Rutherford said.

The clinic will also serve as a sort of wake up call for the newer athletes on the intensity of swimming practices. Athletes must work every day to get faster and increase endurance, which Rachel Rutherford said the athletes would learn more about during the clinic.

“I think in any kind of learning it’s really important to get someone else’s perspective. I just want them to be able to, with having a clinic, see what they can do or what swimming could be like if they took it seriously,” Rutherford said.

In previous seasons, Picayune and PRC hosted tri-meets together where the two teams invited one other squad and the three teams would compete against one another. However, because of COVID-19 restrictions, the programs will only host dual meets this year, limiting the amount of interaction between the athletes.

Rutherford said the program at PRC is what she’s looking to build her own team into, and when the programs come together her athletes are able to see where to push the program forward.

“Even though the PRC swimmers won’t be out there they get a sense of (PRC Head Coach Blake Rutherford) and the community. I like my kids seeing them and knowing that’s where we want to be,” Rutherford said.